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Tips for Teachers Reviews for Upper Level Students


Brett Avila, Spanish Teacher
Sydney Public Schools

Last year was the first time I have had kids in Spanish II-IV. I knew what we had done in Spanish I. Spanish II is beginning with the AVANT STAMP IV test (Reading, Listening, Writing, Speaking). Their scores have given me a strong indication of where they are and seeing their writing samples and listening to them talk through their brainstorms for what they intend to write also give me a good indication of where they are.

I generally try to start with Terry Waltz’s Super 7 and Mike Peto’s Sweet 16, and go from there with a lot of PQA.


Do and Review Bingo

Deb Rohrich, Spanish I-IV
Wood River Public Schools

Do and Review BINGO

Give each student a blank 5X5 grid of squares.  Have them count the squares in Spanish (uno, dos, tres….veinticinco).

When they finish tell them to randomly number the squares 1-25.  This will become his or her Bingo Card.

Post or give each student a list of review tasks numbered 1-25.  These could be any concepts you taught in first year, such as, introductions, clothing vocabulary, etc..

Randomly select a student.  Tell him/her to choose a number and do that task.  After the task is completed, all students mark that # on their Bingo grid.  Continue until someone gets a Bingo.  When that student gets a Bingo, they must perform each of the 5 tasks before getting the prize.


“Hot Tamales” Review

Deb Rohrich, Spanish I-IV
Wood River Public Schools

Offer students a handful or a scoop of Hot Tamales, Mike and Ikes, or other candy. (You need to limit this somehow by saying 1 handful or giving a scoop, so they don’t take hundreds. Tell them they cannot eat then until they complete the task.)

The task is to count the tamales in Spanish, with a partner.  They think they are reviewing the numbers. When they finish, each person must report the # of tamales of his or her partner.  I write the number down for accountability purposes.

I then let them enjoy their candy while I share some facts about myself in Spanish. I expect them to casually translate as I read them.  I review the basics, introducing myself, describing, giving my age, birthday, likes, dislikes, family, members, pets, things I did over the summer, future plans, etc.

When I am done, I tell them they have to write one sentences about themselves for each hot tamale they took.

The next class period, they are assigned a name.  As each student reads his/her sentences, we go around the room translating them.  The person who was given that individual’s name must record 5-10 interesting ideas that he/she will summarize and share at the conclusion of all students’ presentations.  In very large classrooms, you could put them in sharing groups to read their statements and only share the summaries with the entire class, using it as a way for one student to introduce his/her “subject” to the others.

To further extend this, I will have each student combine his/her own tamale sentences into longer, more complex statements.  I then have each create a picture collage with a selfie and a 5-10 sentence paragraph about him/herself on the iPad (we are 1 to1 with iPad).  I print them and put them on my wall.

*I do the picture collage project at every level, and adjust the amount they have to write or control the content that they include.


If you would like to contribute a tip, send an email to the following address: Next month’s topic: How do you reach out to students who struggle with behavior issues?

Behind The Standards Development Process

The Impetus

In 2016, Dr. Janine Theiler initiated the first World Language Colloquium to discuss and establish priorities for NDE in meeting the needs of world language teachers across the state. Task force groups were formed to address needs in the areas of programming, proficiency, professional learning, advocacy and collaboration. Around that time, NDE decided to establish a consistent and cohesive plan to creating and revising standards in all content areas. A schedule for revision was created that marked 2018 as the year for World Language revision.

The Research

The NDE World Language Specialist sent a statewide survey to all world language teachers in December 2017. Teachers were asked for input that would help to shape the discussion at the upcoming second World Language Colloquium. Questions included prompts for language demographics, materials used, the role of the current world language frameworks, and professional practices.

World Language Colloquium 2018

Forty participants gathered in Lincoln in February 2018. The majority of participants were those who had participated in the 2016 Colloquium. Representatives from districts throughout the state, technical colleges, universities, educational service units, and international associations discussed the purpose of language learning and the skill sets that it requires.

World Language Standards Advisory Council

Seventeen educators arrived in Lincoln in June and August 2018 to author the revised standards. The group analyze and compared standards from other states, from other content areas, and from national organizations both language and non-language specific. Working through mindful discussions, the Council established the essentials of world language learning.

World Language Standards Writing Team

The writing team will begin to meet in late October. In a series of meetings, the team will be tasked with creating indicators at specific proficiency levels. As decided by the Council, the revised standards will use the proficiency levels established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages: Novice, Intermediate, Advanced, Superior, and Distinguished. The writing team is still in the process of formation.

World Language Standards Focus Teams

Several areas require focused work groups. These areas include, but may not be limited to dual language immersion, heritage speakers, classical languages, critical languages, and Native American languages. These groups will be convened electronically as needed to provide input into the standards.

The Final Steps

When the indicators are completed and edited, the entire document will be reviewed and open to public commentary before going before the state Board. It is hoped that the standards will be approved in September 2019.



Thank you

While the work and this list are not complete, there are many who have contributed in one way or another to the making of the standards. In a year, this list will be significantly longer. For now, thank you to:



Brett Avila, Sidney Public Schools

Amber Beltrand, Schuyler Public Schools

Theresa Catalano, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Katy Cattlett, Omaha Public Schools

Jan Coone, ESU 16, retired

Alicia Dallman Shoemaker, Elkhorn Public Schools

Brooke  David, NDE

Jonathan Dettman, University of Nebraska Kearney

Steven Duke, University of Nebraska

Chad Dumas, Hastings Public Schools

Janet Eckerson, Lincoln Public Schools

Cory Epler, NDE

Mary Lea Free, Norris Public Schools

Rebecca Gill-Rose, Palmyra Public Schools

Shanna Hellerich, Shelton Public Schools

Chris Heselton, University of Nebraska Confucius Institute

Kristen Hetrick, Doane University

Jami Holbein Swanson, Lincoln Public Schools

Jamie Honke, Ralston Public Schools

Nila Jacobson, Lincoln Public Schools, retired

Jesús Jurado Mendoza, Embassy of Spain, Ministry of Education

Becky Keilig, NDE

Faye Kilday, Northeast Community College

Candida Kraska, Millard Public Schools

Amanda Levos, Grand Island Public Schools

Jared List, Doane University

Amy Mancini-Marshall, Grand Island Public Schools

Naomi Mardock Uman, Metropolitan Community College

Liz Martinez, Elm Creek Public Schools

Ali Moeller, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Rita Ricaurte, Nebraska Wesleyan University

Mytzy Rodriguez-Kufner, Wayne State College

Brenda Romero, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Brenda Schiermeyer, Fremont Public Schools

Cathy Scurlock, Omaha Public Schools

Patty Simpson, University of Nebraska Lincoln

Yasuko Taoka, Wayne State College

Martha Thompson, Norfolk Public Schools

Marie Trayer, Nebraska Wesleyan University, Retired

Janine Theiler, Lincoln Public Schools

Angie Wagoner, Crete Public Schools

Michelle Warren, University of Nebraska Kearney

Nick Ziegler, ESU 5

Are You Ready for the New Standards? Standards Revision Process Maintaining Steady Pace

Members of the World Language Advisory Council working through a group exercise to craft a declaration of student interaction with culture in the world language classroom.

How will the 2019 standards differ from the 1997 standards? While the revised standards carry all of the intellectual design, second language acquisition pedagogy, and flexibility of the 1997 standards, the 2019 standards are greater than the sum of their parts. There is a paradigm shift in the functionality of the language and the expectation of proficiency. World Language Advisory Council Member Jamie Honke shares, “The revised standards are going to put more emphasis on the necessity to integrate intercultural competencies into the curriculum…I think also the standards will impact those who focus a tremendous amount of time on grammar and explicit language instruction because our standards [will be] how to function within the language and not solely understanding the language’s function.” How will this impact teachers? Fellow Council Member Michelle Warren commented, “World Language teachers across the state recognize the urgency to push for ability to communicate and to help students use their language across the disciplines.” The standards process is lengthy; the work is not done. There will still be opportunities for involvement from others. Council Member Jami Holbein Swanson shared that the experience so far has been favorable. “There were protocols in place that allowed all voices to be heard, and understood. We had choice in how to proceed, and with the expertise in the room, our choices were well informed.”

World Language Societies and Clubs

Alliance Française d’Omaha:
Articles, events, classes, and community activities for French and Francophones.

German-American Society of Nebraska
Activities, clubs, community events, language classes, and student exchange.

Japan America Society of Iowa
Community events, presentations, language school

Asian Community and Cultural Center
Community events, English language support, presentations

Where to Start: Resources for 2018-2019

Classroom Grants

Target Field Trip Grants
Target Foundation offers field trip grants of up to $700 for K-12 schools nationwide. Consider a trip to Joslyn, the Lied, or another performance venue for an artistic exposition of the target culture.

Shopko Foundation Community Grants
Shopko Foundation offers grants of up to $2,500 for K-12 private and public schools within 25 miles of a Shopko location.

Monsanto Fund Education Grants
Monsanto benefits programs in K-12 education. Although the program is primarily for STEM focused programs, Monsanto will consider other content areas. Consider using world language as it applies to agricultural vocabulary, technical training, or biological research.

Teacher Created Materials Classroom Supplies
Win up to $250 in teaching supplies for your classroom from Teacher Created Materials.

Dremel DigiLab 3D Printer Giveaway
WeAreTeachers and Dremel are giving away a 3D printer. Imagine creating your own “authentic resources”.


Free Posters

Vista Higher Learning
Celebrate world language learning with Spanish, French, German, and Italian posters to download.

Language Learning By The Numbers
Middlebury Interactive Languages offers three posters detailing world language studies in the U.S. and abroad.

Binational Brings Migrant Educators to Nebraska

This summer, thirteen Mexican teachers traveled to Nebraska to teach in migrant education programs at ESU 1, ESU 7, ESU 9 Head Start, ESU 13, OPS, and Madison Public Schools. Students engaged in reading, writing, and artistic expression focused on Mexican culture and history as well as the Spanish language. Educators shared their experiences at a Binational Reception at the State Capitol on June 18. Mexican Consul Guadalupe Sanchez Salazar and Dr. Lazaro Spindola, Executive Director of the Latino American Commission of Nebraska, acknowledged the teachers for their dedication and professionalism.

The Nebraska Department of Education works with the Secretary of Public Education in Mexico to sponsor teachers from Mexico to work with migrant education in Nebraska. The exchange is part of a larger federal program, the Binational Migrant Education Initiative organized under authority of the US Department of Education. The purpose of the program is to support the education of children who qualify as migrants in the U.S. This year, Nebraska ranked first for the number of qualifying moves of migrant children. Texas and California ranked second and third.

Chinese is Lingua Franca at UNL STARTALK

UNL was the site of the STARTALK Chinese Language, Culture, and Technology Summer Academy again this year. Twenty Nebraska high school students with little to no prior Chinese experience lived in an immersion experience for fourteen days. The Academy also offers a professional development side for teachers who attend from China and throughout the U.S. Fifteen teachers arrived for the ten-day institute to focus on second language acquisition pedagogy. Students and teachers alike cite the experience as a special experience that allows them to make tremendous gains in a short period of time. Dr. Sherri Hurlbut and Dr. Ali Moeller, President of the American Council of the Teaching of Foreign Languages, organize this annual event.

Hispanic Heritage Month Speakers Available

Humanities Nebraska is offering several speaker events in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month September 15-October 15. Speakers will travel to the site. Each educational institution or youth organization must provide adult supervision before, during, and after the program, incorporate the program as part of teaching or a development mission, prepare participants before and follow up after the program. The educational institution may not charge for the program. If interested in hosting a speaker, the institution will pay a $50 processing fee. There is a $100 processing fee for a second program. Schools with a free/reduced lunch population greater than 50% do have discounted processing fees.

This year’s speaker topics are Nebraska’s Mexican-American Legacy, Storytelling and the Hispanic Oral Tradition, Andean Folk Music and Cultures of South America, and Latinos: Searching for the Good Life in Nebraska. More information about the topics can be found here:

Cultural Encounter Kits

Humanities Nebraska offers encounter kits that include videos, CDs, books, clothing, cultural items, and curriculum materials to public or private schools in Nebraska. Reserve kits for up to three weeks. Humanities Nebraska pays for UPS ground shipping to and from your school. Cultural Encounter Kits are targeted to youth grades 4-8. Topics include “A Treasured Heritage: Mexican Americans in Nebraska” and “Home in the Heartland: Nebraska Sudanese Cultures” among others. For more information, go to:

World Language Standards Revision: Charting a Course for Standards Revision

Eighteen participants from around the state met as the World Language Standards Advisory Council June 4-5 in Lincoln to determine the priorities of world language learning and the course of standards revision.

Participants were asked to define their “essential ingredients” for the world language standards. Groups responded that standards should address effective and culturally appropriate communication, global competency, a growth mindset, and a focus on the application of skills to a variety of settings. The gathering reviewed policies from other states and agencies not specific to language study. Using this information, each small group refined their contributing essential ingredients until a standard became evident. These ideas will go forward to the standards writing team to be used as the guideline for the world language standards.